Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Cheer: The tale of Happy's bike

I have to share this story with you, because this is the kind of story that can only be true.  The truth sometimes creates the best opportunity for funny.  For those of you who know me personally, you know that my husband and I have humor.  This humor also equally applies to my in-laws.  Since I joined the family, time and time again I have been victim to what I call a Gravett lie.  You see, the only time we lie in our family is when it is to totally fool one-another or just flat out give one-another a hard time.

I was inducted into the Gravett lie very early on in my marriage.  When my husband and I first moved to San Antonio, we lived with my in-laws.  We sat watching the news one evening.  It was during the news cast that my sweet newly-wed husband says,"  Hey did you know that Albert Flores is the Spurs Coyote?"   (Albert Flores, is a weatherman.)  I thought to myself, he seems a little too chubby to be the coyote.  After all, the coyote does all sorts of stunts.  I was a tad suspicious, so I ask my father-in-law.  (A little background here,  my father-in-law APPEARS to be the nicest person ever.)  He looks so kind and so I think, HE would never lie to me.  Well... as the story goes it was several months that I believed Albert Flores was in fact the Spurs Coyote, because my sweet father-in-law fooled me.

Fast forward about 10 years.  It was around Thanksgiving when my mother-in-law and I started talking about Christmas presents.  Of course, we were trying to coordinate the gifts we planned on getting for my daughter.  It was then that the ultimate plan was hatched.  We decided that grandma and grandpa would get a bike for my daughter.  Then we would also, buy a bike for Grandpa (AKA:  Happy).  HOWEVER, we told him that it was for my husband.  So began the fun and games....

It was just after, Thanksgiving when my mother-in-law called a "Family Meeting."  This family meeting was to discuss Christmas.  She wanted everyone to commit to not buying gifts for the adults.  I began to laugh as my father-in-law sat there saying, "BUT if you already have a gift for someone then that is ok."  He was talking about HIS bike, that he thought was my husbands.  I laughed and laughed, but he never caught on.  The laughs continued as he tried to keep my husband out of their garage one day, afraid he would see the hidden bike.  He told the story of how he maneuvered things around so that "The Bike"  would not be discovered. 

The joke hit the peek of funny two days before Christmas.  We discussed the assembly of the bike.  We suggested that it be taken some where to have someone put it together.  Happy INSISTED, that he could and very much wanted to put it together himself.  There were rapid fire text messages between the rest of us as we snickered about him putting his own Christmas present together.  My sweet father-in-law was putting together his very own bike.  He commented on it being reminiscent of the few memories he had with his own father, putting bikes together.  It was late at night when he decided to take it for a test ride.  We are not sure what exactly happened next but this is how it plays out in my creative mind.

"The alley is dark.  It is ominously dark as if to foreshadow upcoming disaster.  He can not see where he is going, when he starts to feel off balance.  Oh no, he is going to fall, BUT WAIT, this is not HIS bike, it is a BIKE he is gong to give to his son.  This BIKE can NOT have a blemish.  It must be pristine, it must look as if it has never been ridden before.  That is when he, in his own words,"sacrificed my body for the bike."  While I like to make it more dramatic by imagining him laying out in the alley with a bruised body and an injured ego, that is not completely true.  He only scraped his arm and knee."

The next morning we awoke to the news of his fall via text message.  I admit, that I laughed so hard, I thought I might pee my pants!  My mother-in-law said she was already in bed asleep when he fell.  She questioned, what would  have happened if he had really hurt himself?  She speculated that he would have laid in the alley all night.  While this would not be funny had he really hurt  himself, it is HYSTERICAL since he is fine.  She described him as sore from the fall and occasionally wincing with pain.  To top it off, he was going to have to fake it in front of my husband, because it was still not Christmas and "The Bike"  had not been revealed.

Finally Christmas had arrived.  Together my in-laws wheeled the bikes into our living room, to give their gifts.  It was then, that we confessed "The Bike" was in fact Happys!  I laughed and said, "You put together your own Christmas present!"  He was surprised, and even had a tear in his eye.  I like to think the tear was shed over the pain of the fall, but in reality, the tear was over the gift.  It was the perfect gift for him to share with his only grand daughter.

Christmas is and should be a joyous time.  It should be fun and filled with laughter and love.  It should be a time when even if your gift isn't what you thought it was, it doesn't matter because the real joy is in making fun out of what you got!

Merry Christmas to all......

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Season of Presence

It seems as though my thoughts are on presence.    I can't help but think about the weight of presence in life.  It has been a while since I wrote.  Since my last blog, I have experienced another death in the family.  Well, it is more like adopted family, but in my heart there is no difference. 

You see, my very best friend growing up, just lost her father.  Their house was where I spent many nights, days, and weekends.  I called her parents mom and dad.  I vacationed with them.  We spent holidays together.  For many years, we were inseparable.  We have always joked, that our friendship worked, because I always said what she was thinking, and too polite to say out loud.  Her family is so dear to my heart, and I love each of them.

The loss of her father, and the recent passing of my sweet Tia Angie, has me thinking about presence.  Presence can make such a profound impact on the lives of people.  I think of these two people and the impact of their presence in my life.  I am so thankful for even the small things they did to encourage and influence me.  Often we walk through our daily lives with a list of chores to do, work to do, errand to run, and obligations to meet.  It is in this season that I see that presence is all that really matters.

A Christmas Prayer:  By Max Lucado

Dear Jesus,
It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.
These killings, Lord.  These children, Lord.  Innocence violated.  Raw evil demonstrated. 
The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?
Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas.  But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty.  Dark with violence.
Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.
Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.
This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.
Your Children

Max Lucado sent this prayer out on Friday after the news of the school shootings.  What a beautiful way to show us that Jesus came into our world at a time filled with hate and evil.  I thought his prayer was exactly what I have been thinking.  His prayer showed the significance of presence, and how important it was then and now.  We need God's presence.  We need BOTH our MOTHERS AND FATHERS to be present.  We need our hearts, families, and communities to be wrap in the loving presence of Jesus. We need to start at home.  We need to start with ourselves.  We need to take a moment to review our hearts and adjust our lives and start experiencing presence. 

My husband and I make sacrifices to put our daughter first.  We pray for her, and with her.  We read the Bible with her.  We are present in her life.  It is Christmas time, and what an excellent example Jesus gave us, about presence.  God became human to be with us.  Jesus died to be with us.  How much quality time our we spending with Him?  How much time our we giving our families?  How much effort our we using nurturing our relationships?

There is a hustle and bustle about this time of the year.  For some it is met with joy, and others with sadness.  While I admit to having a slow start to finding my joy, I have learned this.  If you want to find true joy, lasting joy, love-filled joy, you need only put your eyes on Jesus.  The cliche saying," Jesus is the reason for the season," doesn't really do justice to its meaning.  The season is decorated and wrapped in pretty paper and bows, but the true joy of the season is experiencing HIS presence.  It is not only the gift of his birth, and the salvation found in His resurrection; it is the EVERYDAY PRESENCE that makes a difference.

As you prepare this week and next to celebrate Christmas.  I want to challenge you.  I challenge you to have a season of presence.  Be present for your family and your children, not just in the fast lane or drive thru.  I challenge you to experience genuine presence with your loved ones.  Make a new tradition.  Make more time to hold your loved ones a little longer.  Most of all, I challenge you to experience the PRESENCE OF THE ONE TRUE LIVING GOD, JESUS CHRIST.  When you do He will show you more joy, hope, and love than you could ever imagine.  My prayer for each of you will be that you will experience a LIFETIME of presence.

Luke 2:11-14
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The voices in my head

As a women, I think we all have voices in our heads.  These voices can be the insecurities of our hearts ringing our ears, telling us all the things we should've, could've, or would've done better if this or that.  I have had a couple of weeks where I let the voices in my head tell me things that made each day a bigger challenge, a bigger heart break, and more drama than they really needed to be.

The voice started with, you are not good enough.  At the end of that statement you can insert almost anything, and that is where I took it.  I was not a good enough mom, wife, employee, and Christian.  I found myself metaphorically hitting myself at every step I took.   It is that moment when you wake up in the morning, your grey hair meets you at the mirror, and you look down, and think," oh dear God, I am not suppose to look this old!"  Then you head to the kitchen craving a doughnut for breakfast.  It only takes one thought to poison your mind and set you up for a day of discouragement.

I have obviously been thinking too much.  Analyzing my life and how I am living.  I have picked apart all aspects of my life thinking, how can I make next week better.  How can next week not be full of mistakes?  How can I get next week under control, and back into a rhythm that doesn't feel like treading water?

Here is what God says:

1 Peter 4: 12-13
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

We live in a world that fills us with lies about who we are and who we should be.  I have said it before, and will say it again, I believe Satan's favorite weapons are the voices in our heads. The verse above says we should not be surprised by his attacks, and infers that we should expect them. He fills us with things like doubt, and confuses us with tiny twists on God's word that appeal to our human nature.  He whispers in our ears things like," you should have", or "if only", but the truth is that is not the truth.  God is our definition. What does God say about us and to us, these are the things we should have sealed in our hearts and fresh in our minds.  One of my favorite truths is the following verse:

Romans 8:1-2
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

This verse is a sweet reminder that God does not condemn those who believe in Jesus.  While we may sin and make mistakes, He wants us to remmeber that we are in fact free from the chains of sin by the death and ressurrection of Christ Jesus.  Because we are free through Christ, why oh why should we continue to relive the mistakes and regrets of the past?

 I find that when I am struggling with the voices in my head, I often pray less, read my bible less, and assume the treading water position.  I dislike this about myself.  However, I think that it is a common theme for many Christians.  The daily struggles are sometimes more difficult than the really big trials.  It is simple, if I am sure that I can not handle it, I let God.  BUT if I think I might be able to fix it, or I think it just isn't big enough to take to God, that is when the trouble begins for me. When in reality, I should hand all struggles over to God.

If you have read my blog then you know I hate the word submission.  However, I find that when I am in submission to God, life is so much easier.  When I quit fighting the struggle is not so stressful on my muscles.  In submission to God, there is a peace that takes over, right before the joy comes to fill my heart.  It doesn't matter the situation, big or small. when I am in God's will, when I am praying and reading his word, there is a confidence, I don't otherwise have.

I still have weeks when the voices in my head try to take over.  The voices tell me who the world thinks I should be, but not who I am or who God wants me to be.  I found a few verse that I want to remember next time, I am struggling with the voices in my head.  Here are a few truths from God's word.

Psalm 139: 14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Ephesians 4:7
 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.

Philippians 4:19
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

2 Timohty 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

These are just a few of the precious truths about me, that I often shove aside in lieu of the voices in my head.  I AM fearfully and wonderfully made.  God's grace IS sufficient for ALL my shortcomings.  My needs are fulfilled by God to His glory.  (NOT my wants!)  Fear is not of God, but power, love, and self discipline is how I was created to be.  I pray that next time you have a week or two that are filled with voices, doubts, and discouragement, you will remember that in God's eyes you and I are worth and loved so much more than we tell ourselves.

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

A lesson in Grace

John 10:10

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

 The past week was a very emotional week for me.  I loss my favorite "Tia".  I wrote about her once before, in a blog titled: Prayer Impact.( ) She was a beautiful, sweet, and faithful woman.  She always prayed for me, and my siblings.  Her prayers came to life in me as she prayed the armor of God over me so many times.  I don't believe she had any idea what an impact those prayers were in my lifeNow I suffer from a joyful heartache at the loss of my sweet Tia Angie.

As the week progressed, I feel as though God has laid on my heart that I need to extend more grace.  I need to extend grace to family or friends that in one way or another have hurt my feelings or disappointed me.  I need to learn to forgive and then give grace knowing that my forgiveness will not change anything for the people who will continue to live their lives never knowing of my silent disapproval.  It is then that the John 10:10 came to mind.

You see, the thief comes to steal my freedom and joy.  He comes to kill my relationships and the love in my heart.  The thief comes to destroy all that is good in my life.  The thief uses any means by which to accomplish the destruction of my hope, my joy, my love, and all things I hold dear.  There is a real truth here, the truth is found in Jesus and His example.  Jesus gives us grace, and so in turn we should also extend grace. I have just considered that while I am free from my sins, through Christ Jesus, I am still held captive by the sins I have not forgiven.  I have decided that I no longer want to be controlled by the anger, disappointment, or hurt feelings that are associated with not forgiving.  I want to experience freedom in grace that I give to others, the way Christ gave for me.

God always has a way of sealing my thoughts.  He often validates my prayers and thoughts through others.  Today as I sat in Sunday school, we talked about slavery.  We were covering the verses from 1 Peter Chapter 2: 18-25.  The verse that struck me most is 19: "A person might have to suffer even when it is unfair, but if he thinks of God and stands the pain, God is pleased."  My take on this is that the only way to stand the pain of an unfair situation is to offer grace and forgiveness.  We forgive not because of  fairness or justice, but to free ourselves from the control of the oppressor. Today's Sunday school lesson, helped to solidify and confirm just what I was thinking and what I need to do.  I need to live extending grace to others, with as much grace as I have been given.

I think I will start by praying and saying out loud that I want to forgive and that I want to extend grace to others.  Then I will try something radical and give myself grace!  I think I am often robbed of my freedom, by a thief named Miranda.  There is no one harder on me than me.  I can kick myself around over things that I should just let go.  Grace means that a mistake can be forgiven, it is still a mistake, but there can be love and forgiveness anyway.  I challenge each of you to try this with me.  Let's make this week, a week of grace, a week of forgiveness for ourselves and for others.  I think if we find ourselves wrapped in God's grace and extending grace to others, then in turn we will feel more free and more joy.  The thief CANNOT steal, kill, and destroy while the Holy Spirit stands in me.  I plan on living life in abundance with the Holy Spirit.

In honor of my Tia Angie:

Ephesians 6:10-13a
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against the flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world ad against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground."    

Will you stand your ground this week?  Will you keep the thief from stealing, killing and destroying your joy?  Will you extend grace?  I am certainly going to try!  This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Friday, September 7, 2012


I have to tell this story.  It is just too funny not to tell.  My sweet husband and I were invited to dinner with some friends of ours.  We had a lovely time.  We were one of three couples, all of us had kids and the kids played while the adults visited.  The next day, I ran into the friend who invited us over and she thanked me for coming and said the FUNNIEST thing to me.  Her comment has made me laugh so much, but also has me thinking.  She said, she loved having us over with the other couple, because the husband of the other couple is not saved.  She wanted us to be there to show how normal Christians really are.  ( Not verbatim)

Ok, so if you are me, this is what goes off in my head:  You invited us over, because we are your most flawed friends!  Begin enormous laugh here........still laughing..........oh my mercy..... still laughing!  While I obviously find this incredibly funny, I also think I am flattered by the idea that we were selected.  I can't help but ponder the ideas of those who are not Christian.

I think the stereotype that Christians are perfect has new humor to me.  As a Christian, I know something that non-Christians don't know.  That simply put is that I NEED A SAVIOR.  I need someone to redeem me, because on my own, I am a huge mess.

For example, left to my own devices, I would be a wild cusser.  That is right.  I would talk what my mom would call, " a wild blue streak."  I would be like a trucker.  Just ask my hubby about the time he left me at the church on our wedding day, I know a few bad words.  I would also probably dress like a fat woman at HEB in the summer.  I would let it all hang out.  I wouldn't care, because lets face it, it is HOT in Texas.  

As it is, as a Christian, I taught my 5 year old to say crap.  I have hurt peoples feelings.  I have been dishonest.  I have lied.  I have saught revenge.  I have torn the tag off the mattress of all sorts of things that God considers sin.  I am no poster child for good.  The only difference is that I can admit I am wrong, I can admit that I NEED a savior.

So I guess the real question is, are you flawed enough to be a Christian?  Do you have the flaws that require needing to surrender your life over to God?  I am happy to say that I AM FLAWED ENOUGH!  I have everything it takes to deserve Jesus.  What is that exactly?  Nothing.  I have absolutely nothing good to offer Jesus.  I am broken, and hopelessly flawed.  I admit it. I have a secret stash of chocolate in my underwear drawer!  Those M&M's are a symbol of my secret indulgence in all things that are not good for me.

The amazing thing about God, is that as HE loves me regardless of me.  He loves me despite my flaws.  His word says that He sent his Son for those just like me, the lost.  Before, I knew I needed a savior, I was lost.  I had no idea the directions to heaven, to happiness, to peace, and most importantly to love.  When I realized that I was FLAWED ENOUGH, He welcomed me in, and filled me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self control.  (The fruit of the spirit Galation 5:22-23)  While they are not perfect in me, they are in HIM, and that is enough for me.

I hope that this little story encourages you to be flawed enough to step into the Christian family and find your place in HIS plan!

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Finding Good

Well, I am 35 years old, and I believe I have just learned one of the most profound lessons of my life.  I HAVE FOUND GOOD.  I will let you in on a secret, finding good is directly related to obedience to God's will.  God has poured out opportunities in my life and I have found two things that I am good at, and that bring me indescribable joy. ( That is aside from being a wife and mother.)

I have worked at jobs that I have been good at but were not my true passion.  I have prayed for my life to matter.  I have prayed that God would use me to glorify Him.  I have prayed He would grow my faith.  I have prayed He would give me a servants heart.  I have asked God to show me where He wants me in his plan.  However, in MY answer to these requests, I imagined, becoming a speaker for Women of Faith.  I always seem to make myself bigger than Him in my imagined responses to my requests.  Then I catch myself and pray, Lord, please help me not to seek fame or credit, but to make my life honor you.

I blogged once about feeling passionless, in No Pinterest.  I have often felt passionless.  I am not a crafter, I don't have a hobby if you will.  It was like a crisis of identity if you asked me what I like to do.  I find it easy to list the things that I don't like doing, but I could take three days to find the things that I love to do.  My attitude about many things I do is lack luster, and I have a hard time claiming to be good at anything.  I have come to realization that the reason, I feel I have no passion is because up until recently, I was not considering what God wants me to do. What are the gifts He has given me, and am I using them?  Some where between what God puts on my heart and what I do there is a disconnect.  It may be called fear, it may be called insecurity, but it has kept me from following through.  Maybe I have heard God whisper to me before, but I have not actually been brave enough to stop and listen, and accept God's calling in my heart.

"Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

I have been delighting in the Lord.  I have been seeking him.  For a change I decided to listen and follow the tugging on my heart.  I mentioned in my last blog that I am now working with Kindergarten kids part time.  I have to say, I had my reservations.  How was I going to wake up so early?  Was I going to like being in a room full of kids. I've never done anything like this, will I even be good at it?  However, I was certain that God was being clear on this matter, this is what He wanted for me.  I have followed him faithfully, into the scary unknown.  I have been tired, but I have also felt indescribable joy from being with these kids.  I love listening to their silly stories.  I love listening to their prayer requests, and hearing them pray.  I even love the ones that test me!  Kids are the best teachers in life.  They love without bounds, they say what is on their minds, they ask for help when the need it.  They are truly brilliant, created by God to show us adults what we have forgotten.

The Lord has also clearly put me in another situation, also mentioned in a previous blog. I have been attending the Beauty for Ashes bible study/support group.  It is a ministry for abused women.  I took the class with my mother-in-law to see if we would like to be co-teachers/leaders/facilitators.  I was completely blessed by God during this class.  I was blessed to meet some amazing women.  I was blessed by the lessons, the truth of God's word, and how He views abuse.  He desires total healing for all His precious and loved children.  I have a new passion after seeing the freedom found through Jesus that the women experience as a result of speaking God's truth and removing the lies of the world.  It is something that can not be described.  When you see a woman, who has suffered her whole life, let go and accept that she is LOVED by the almighty, it is more than words can describe.  It is not only the presence of Almighty God, it is the complete and total vision of the cross.  After attending the Graduation class,  I feel as though God may be calling me to continue in this ministry.  I don't know when or where I will find the time, BUT if this is God's will, I intend to follow him in faithful obedience.  Just read the passage of scripture the class is based on below:

Isaiah 61:3
to comfort all who mourn,3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Who doesn't want to encourage and share the freedom found in hearing the truth about how God loves you and made you?  Who doesn't want to trade in their ashes for beauty?

 There it is, I have followed God and I have found joy.  I have found good.  It is one of the few times in my life when I have thrown caution to the wind.  I have had no idea what I am doing!  I have stepped out of all my familiar surroundings.  I have left the comfort of "my box."  I have taken a risk, and handed over the control to God.  The craziest thing has happened, I have been equipped by God in ways I could never do myself.  Therefore, being in His will is where I am made good at something!  My conclusion, if you want to find out what you are good at, where your passion is, and what you have true joy in, find out what God is calling you to, and don't be afraid to step out and step in to HIS plan.

2Corinthians 3:5-6
We don’t have the right to claim that we have done anything on our own. God gives us what it takes to do all that we do. He makes us worthy to be the servants of his new agreement that comes from the Holy Spirit and not from a written Law. After all, the Law brings death, but the Spirit brings life.

This week I suggest letting God give you what it takes to find GOOD. This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

a new adventure in LOVE

Well, it has been a while.  I have been busy and the Lord has given me quite a whirlwind of busy weeks, and so many more to come.  I have titled this blog a new adventure in love, because I am indeed in for a new adventure.

The story began in May.  I was encouraged by my family to look for a part-time job at my daughters Christian school.  I have a part-time job.  So, I was slightly surprised when the conversations began.  However, I prayed about it, and felt as if God was indeed encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone.  I submitted my application and waited.  After all, it was summer and I figured I would probably end up substituting and that is all I really had in mind.  God had very different plans for me.  It was about two weeks ago, that I was called and asked to come in and interview.  The before and after school program, had a couple of openings.  There was both a full time and part time position, one with 4 year olds and one in First/Second grade.  In my mind this was all happening so fast....EEEKKK CHANGE!  I told the director that I would pray about the job opportunity.  She was going on vacation, and I had a week, to pray and settle my heart for what job I would take if I took one.

It is really funny how God speaks.  I agree with one of my favorite Christian musicians, Mandisa, I think God sounds like James Earl Jones!  As I prayed that week, I heard so many things, that I am sure were God.  However, most them didn't actually sound like James Earl Jones.  The strange thing was that I was at peace.  I kept feeling my heart saying, don't worry, I will provide all your needs. This has never happened to me before;  I HAVE NEVER HAD PEACE LIKE THIS DURING CHANGE. (Philippians 4:7 kind of peace.)  The idea of my needs being met reached a new challenge to me, because the job requires early mornings.  I AM NO MORNING PERSON.  This may in fact be an understatement.  This is a huge step in faith, because I am believing that God is going to take this 35 year old, and miraculously turn me into a happy morning person!  I have no choice but to believe it, because well, I heard him say he was going to meet my needs. 

I also randomly talked to people during that week, that encouraged me having no idea that they were doing so.  It is really strange the way God moves.  I have been feeling him move and feeling like he was preparing me for something, I just never imagined it would be this.  When I went in for the interview, God gave me one more thing to make me feel sure.  There was a new part time position available, and it was in Kindergarten!  My daughter is going to start kinder, and I can not think of a better place to be.  Needless to say, I am the new Kinder extended learning session (ELS) teacher!

I am very passionate about my daughter and how I want to raise her. I never want my daughter to feel lonely, because I am too busy for her.  I want her to have a mom to come home to.  I want her to know that I am not only here, but that I am really listening to her.  I want her to know that I am involved and engaged with every part of her life, and that she is important.  I want her to know God loves her, and so do mom and dad.  I have to have a job, but this is like the best of both worlds.  I can be with her after school.  I also have the opportunity to share and give love to 13 other kids on my roster!

During the week, that I spent praying about taking the job, a theme of love emerged.  I was told, that all I had to do was love these kids.  I was told that I was a loving person by people who I least expected to hear it from.  Then even more encouraging, during my week of inservice and orientation, the discussion was often about love.  I have never seen so many people, passionate about Christ, full of love, and genuinely care for one another.  By Wednesday, I came home and cried.  I am not a crier, but I was so moved by the people, by the scriptures, and the presence of God.  The theme for our school year is as follows: Equipped and Empowered to GO!  (Backstory:  The verses supporting this are Ephesians 6:10-20, the Armor of God, and if you read my blog, you know I LOVE these verses!)

I have always heard the saying: God does not call the equipped, but he equips the called.  I find myself in that situation.  I have no classroom experience, save a couple of vacation Bible schools, and a few Sunday school classes.  However, I choose to view that as a good thing.  I have no bad habits, I only have new habits to make.  I am in a unique position, I must surrender to God.  The minute I think I know what I am doing, I am going to be in real trouble!  God has opened this door, and sent out the call.  This is so far outside of my box, I have to set my eyes on him and walk in faith.  Funny, during inservice, one of the pastors that spoke, asked this question:  When is the last time you asked God to grow your faith?  It occurs to me that I prayed that very prayer this summer.  Now I am here with no choice but to go where I asked.  I have to grow deeper and rely on my faith.

My plan for this adventure:  LOVE BIG, PRAY HARD, and live in the REST OF FAITH.

Oh and play this every morning:

Normally, I would say this is my mindset, now let me hear yours... this time I will say it this way: 

This is where God is taking me, and I hope you will pray with me that God's will be done, and that my words and actions honor Him, as I go through this new adventure in love!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Outside of the Box

There is something about change that can make you feel a little insecure.  Well, it can down right make you feel like the dumbest girl in the room.   (A quick plug her for one of my favorite blogs to read: Chance Scoggins: Dumbest Guy in the Room. )  I have said before that I am usually pretty comfortable in my skin.  I know more or less what I am willing to do or not do, and I certainly know what I believe in.  However, change makes me uneasy, and worse it makes me question. Change is something that makes me feel afraid, and well, just plain old out of sorts. 

Change means making decisions and making choices.  It has never been more apparent to me than how important choices are since having my daughter.   My choices are so much more serious now that I have a child.  It use to be easy to decide things, but now I find myself contemplating things like, is my daughter going to need therapy because I have accidentally made her into a germ a-phobe?  There is nothing like living with a literal child, to make you think before every decision.  It is the flippant decisions and choices I make that get me in trouble.  It was just last night that I was metaphorically slapped in the face when, my 5 year old said, "Oh crap!"  Yep, my choice for a "better" word is still not a better word for a 5 year old.

My life seems to be in the midst of changes.   I am changing as a Christian.  I am changing as a mother.  I am changing my priorities, and considering things that did not use to matter, actually do matter.  Of course, the Lord is sovereign in the examples He gives through His word.  I think it is no coincidence that we are studying Gideon in Sunday school.  I love the story of Gideon, and find him extremely relate-able. ( Is that even a word? Guess not, but I am using it anyway!)  Gideon is the perfect example of how I react when it is time for me to step out of my box.  As the story goes Gideon was basically found hiding in a corner.  He was minding his own business, when an Angel of the Lord came and said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior."  I love that Gideon's reaction was skeptical and he basically said,"oh yeah, can you prove it?"

Isn't that how so many of us are when we are confronted with change?  The first reaction: I can't do that; that is way to far out of MY comfy box.  If this is what I am suppose to do then, I need a sign.  I just need to be sure.  The questions come and go and the internal decisions begin to form.  As I think about the decisions that need to be made, I want my choices to be specific.  As I said, it is the flippant decisions that often come back to bite me in the metaphorical butt.

Here are a few things that I want to actively choose:

I choose LOVE.
I choose JOY.
I choose HOPE.
I choose FAITH.
I choose KINDNESS.

The Bible is riddled with examples of God taking the least likely person, and making them great!  First, Abraham and Sarah, promised children, that they were too old to have.  However, God didn't think they were too old, he thought they were perfect for His plans.  Then there was Moses, called to set His people free, the very one who was once the son and brother of the oppressors.  Who can forget David?  The small child who killed the giant Goliath and gave the Israelites victory over the Philistines.  Then there was Mary, the quiet but obedient virgin mother of Jesus.  I can't leave out Saul who persecuted Christians, but then became Paul, one of the authors of several new Testament books, and a great preacher of the gospel.  These are just a few examples, there are many, many more.  A theme through out the Bible, God likes to take people out of their boxes.  He likes to show that His imagination is beyond our beyond.  The common theme in each example is that each CHOSE Jesus, and they chose to step out of their comfort zone.  It wasn't easy for any of them but God was Faithful.

It is only with Jesus and the gift of the Holy spirit, that I believe it is possible to confidently step outside of the box.  The author of HOPE, wants us to use our FAITH, to OBEDIENTLY follow his calling.  Change is scary, but maybe by making the right choices change can be the more rewarding, more fulfilling, and more meaningful than staying in the same comfy box.  

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Becoming Miranda

Tonight I cleaned my kitchen in my underwear.  Yep, you read that right!  It was strangely empowering!  I scrubbed the sink, and began to wonder how it had come to this?  I normally clean fully dressed but, I had given my daughter a bath, and she managed to get one of my legs completely wet.  As I passed the sink with the dinner dishes stacked in it, it only made sense to clean up.  There I stood in the kitchen cleaning in my undies asking myself, how did I become THIS MIRANDA?  What am I becoming?

This is what I think I am becoming:

A mother.  The supreme master of the word NO.  The teacher of good decisions.  The encourager and cheer leader to all accomplishments.  The dictator of the house mood.  The chef to healthy and not so healthy meals.  I am the heart of the household.  The funny thing about mommying is that it changes everyday.  Your child may go to sleep as a precious angel, but wake up with the sarcastic and sly humor of her father.  Or all of the sudden she may be exhibiting my very bossy and loud mouth.  While I like myself, I am not sure I like myself as a 5 year old. Each day poses a new adventure, that sometimes I am prepared for, and other times I am left to "punt."  Some days all that is left is a half dressed mom, cleaning a sink full of dirty dishes!

A finisher.  I have to confess, I like to procrastinate.  I do my laundry and fill the basket until it over flows before I will fold.  Then I spend way to much time folding that I don't have enough time to vacuum. I don't iron anything until I absolutely must.  I even procrastinate the start of my day.  I snooze at least twice.  Then I check my email and blood sugar, watch a little news then get up.  While I finish things, I admit particularly when it comes to house chores, it is always last minute.  The thing about finishing is it is something incredibly important to teach your kid.  I don't want to look down the road and ask myself why I didn't make it important to teach my daughter to finish.  I guess sometimes finishing means washing the dishes half dressed.

A Christian.  I am becoming a Christian.  It is more than just saying I believe in Jesus.  It is changing my life, from the inside out.  It is as scripture says, " taking off the old, and putting on the new."  There are days, that I don't want to love others.  Other people sometimes down right hack me off.  There are days I don't want to forgive, and days when I want life to be only about me.  However, as I progress in my walk as a Christian, I find it easier.  There is no greater freedom than that found in forgiveness.  To be forgiven and to give forgiveness may be the only way to find real joy.  I found the Lord whispering in my ear the other day, that life is not about the people who don't love you, but it is about how much I (God) love you.  It was a profound moment.   The days can sometimes be filled with haters, echos of all the things wrong with the world, and reasons why success is impossible.  As a Christian, the real truth is how much God loves us.  It is proven each day by the many miracles that are taken for granted and over looked.  God loves all the time, even the sin marred and broken.  I love that I am becoming closer, more faithful, and more complete in the hands of God.

My life is is not perfect, it is not finished, it is an everyday adventure.  I feel as though I am embarking on changes now.  What is the change?  Well, I don't know.  I just feel as though God is working on me, and His will be done.  I hope I am up for the challenge of becoming Miranda, God style!

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Freedom in TRUTH

I love this country.  I love our soldiers.  I think the United States is the best country in the whole world.  There is no other place where you can have life, like that in the United States.  There is no other country in the world that loves life, and freedom as much as we do.  However, we are in strange times.  We are at a place where all of the sudden our freedoms are being taken from us, and the love of life is slowly slipping away.  I believe we need truth, and in truth we can find freedom, that will in turn set our country back on track.

What is this truth I speak of?  It is God's word.  After all, God is the maker of real freedom.  He is the creator and sustainer of all things good and righteous.  If we embrace God's truth, I think we will better understand freedom and how we should embrace it as a country.

Recently, I have been participating in a Bible Study of sorts.  It is a group designated to help women who have been abused.  Along with my mother-in-law we have been attending the class to determine if this is something that we want to lead in the future.  The class focuses on sharing God's TRUTH, not the lies we tell ourselves, and definitely not the lies that others/the world tell us.  I am learning so much about people and truth.  Our world is full of people who are hurting.  We are a country of lost people.  Many of my blogs have been about love, and how God commands us to love one another.  After being in this class it occurs to me that I don't think I have given enough thought to the role of TRUTH in our lives and in our freedom.

The class is called Beauty For Ashes.  It is based on the scripture Isaiah 61:3, but I am including verses 1&2 because I think it speaks great truth for our hurting world.

Isaiah 61: 1-3
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

This is truth.  I love what it says in these verses, by proclaiming the good news, otherwise known as TRUTH, hearts can be healed, FREEDOM can be found and comfort will be given.  It says a crown of beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair.  What this means is that people need to know about the TRUTH found in Jesus Christ.  If they know and believe, they can walk FREE of guilt and shame with healed hearts, comforted from their sorrows.  Don't you think our country and our world could use more of this FREEDOM in TRUTH?

I love the imagery of FREEDOM that is given here.  I love the description of a crown of beauty.  When we walk in truth, and share it with others real freedom exists. You too can be free, just exchange your ashes for beauty.  All you have to do is accept Jesus as your savior and ask for forgiveness. You are so dearly loved by God the Father.  You no longer have to wear those ashes of worry, guilt, or shame.  You are freed by the truth found only in Jesus.

As a country we seem to be in a grey area when it comes to truth.  We walk covered in ashes, living in despair, brokenhearted, and a prisoner to our debtors.  So many of us claim to be Christian but don't know the first thing about God's character or word.  If we root ourselves in truth, then the many grey areas would not be holding us hostage.  Abortion/murder, homosexuality, lying, cheating, and stealing are just a few areas that we kid ourselves into thinking things like, "Well, maybe it is ok in this case."  Or, we convince ourselves we just need to be more loving.  The reality is we need to take a step back and look at what God has to say about these things.

As we celebrate the 4th of July, I hope that we can celebrate with TRUTH.  The truth is, our constitution was founded by people who were seeking God, and today followed by people who barely know Him.  I hope that each of us will take time to look at God's truth and the beauty that comes from ashes, when we choose to follow him.  I pray this 4th of July you will consider what God's truth is in your life.  I pray you will consider that the Constitution was framed by Christian men seeking God's truth.  Then ask yourself if the men and women who uphold it today are seeking God's truth.  Then I encourage you to pray for our country like never before, and make your voice heard on election day!

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Monday, June 25, 2012

10 Years of Marriage

My husband and I are coming up on our 10 years anniversary.  I love that man.  I love him so much, sometimes I just want to smother him while he lays there snoring, LOUDLY very LOUDLY!  When I got married, I didn't know much about being married, and after ten years, it is safe to say I am still learning.  Here are a few things I do know.

Humor is one of the keys to my marriage.  We say it all the time, if we didn't have humor, one of us would be dead.  My mother in law told me that when she asked my hubby why he wanted to marry me, he said, "because she just makes me laugh." She also said she knew we were meant to be when at my bridal shower, I was asked the same thing, and I said,"He just makes me laugh."  We work because we laugh.  We work because there is a time for humor and a time to let go of the things that are sometimes said regretfully.  We use our humor to ease forgiveness for the many moments we speak before thinking.  We jokingly say that we have been married 84 LONG years, but they have been wonderful years!  After all that time we still make each other laugh almost every day.  It is a good way to live, and to build longevity in life and marriage!

I am not going to change that man!  I know where his boots are going to be, and that I am going to trip over them every night!  I know that he likes to drink Maalox out of the bottle solely to gross me out.  (Just an FYI, label my bottle so he won't touch it!)  He also likes to gulp his water on purpose to irritate me.  He often leaves his clothes right next to the dirty clothes basket, and has a tendency to leave doors open.  The medicine cabinet in particular.  I write all this knowing that I have my share of bad habits and idiosyncrasies that drive him crazy.  However, after 10 years, these are things I should not fuss over or try to change.  If I spent all my time harping on the little things, what fun would that be?  After all, we have a daughter to raise, and there are enough differences in opinion there to keep us in "discussion" for a lifetime.

"In your marriage you can't keep score!" This is the best advice we were given and STILL reminded of to this day. (Given by my mother-in-law.)  While it is hard to live like that, I try not  to waste my time complaining about the things that are not going to change.  I often ask myself is this really important in the grand scheme of things?  I believe when change is necessary it should be made first by my attitude.  I find that if I change my attitude from nagging wife, change comes so much easier and nicer.  This works everyday except Sunday.  Sunday is the day when no matter how hard we try, there is an arguement before Church.  The argument usually has to do with who is the root cause of why we are running late, or just how long does it take him to get out of my space!  Either way, the result always ends up in us laughing about Sunday being our designated day to fight!

God is the center of our marriage.  While my husband and I speak two totally different languages, we can agree on one thing.  That is God is the most important part of our lives.  We have to put Him first, act according to His will, and train our daughter to love Jesus and righteousness.  Now if my husband was telling this he would put it like this, "If you don't love Jesus you are stupid." Or He may say, God is in control, we don't have to worry."  He doesn't use "churchy" words or elegant phrases.  As a matter of fact he often can not speak as fast as his mind is moving and therefore, either stumbles over his words or completely omits things speaking in fragmented sentences.  The truth is, when we were married we were united before God and together we try to live and love as God has called us to.  In chapter 8, verse 31 of Romans says, "If God is for us, who then can be against us."   We take our vows seriously.

I hope that the next ten years and beyond will continue to be a blessing.  The Lord has given me someone who is truly my match.  I have loved every minute, good and bad. I hope that when we reach our golden years, that we still laugh as much as we do now!

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Courageous Prayer

There are days I wake up and I feel like I am living one big blonde moment.  It is like, I hear things being said, but nothing is sinking in.  I find myself at a cross roads.  I have some decisions to make, and while they have been looming around, it is like all the sudden a doorbell went off in my head that said, DING DONG, wake up decide now, not later!

It is a funny thing, when I find myself needing God's direction, I usually don't ask for it.  Or better yet, I ask and then don't wait to see what he says.  I spent my evening praying that I would hear what God is calling me to do, and I spent half the morning not listening.  I had three conversations with three different people and each one of them said the same thing to me.  Then like a light switch I ask, is this one of those times God is using people to get his message across?  Oh but wait!! Change is scary!

I find it NO coincidence that my scripture reading was about being courageous.  In Sunday school, we started the book of Joshua.  I missed class yesterday to snuggle babies in my monthly rotation at the nursery.  I read my homework last night as the rest of my household was sleeping.  I am not sure that I have ever read the complete book of Joshua, but it drew me in right in chapter one. 

It begins with Joshua being God's chosen leader to follow the footsteps of Moses.  WOW, can you imagine?  I certainly can not imagine Joshua and how he must have felt, but according to my conclusion from scripture, he must have been afraid.  This was a huge change for Joshua, and change can be paralyzed by fear. God instructs Joshua four different times to be strong and courageous.

VS 9: "Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

The chapter continues to give instructions on how the Israelites will finally go into the Holy land.  God gave them specific instructions on how and when they would cross into the Holy land, and all Joshua and the other had to do was obey God's instructions.

Fast forward to 2012. VS 9 " Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."   What does that mean to me today?  For me it means, that the Lord will be with me wherever I go, and more importantly, I need to remember to take him with me.  The verses prior to this instruct  Joshua to, "keep the book of  law always on your lips."  This is a reminder to me, that I should be in prayer for God's direction.  I pray all the time for the needs of others, and the concerns of other, but it seems rarely do I have the conversation with God, am I in your will?  Am I doing what you want me to do?  Then even worse, I don't stop to listen.

Clearly there is a message from God for each of us as to how we complete His perfect plan for us as individuals.  I am wondering today, have I been listening?  Have I been too afraid of change or the unknown?  I believe and scripture tells us that God does not give us a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7).  Interesting, the chosen leader after Moses, Joshua, had to be reminded four times, to be strong and courageous.  In my mind the people from the Bible heard God like the sound of James Earl Jones loudly and all around, and even with that assurance of the voice of God and the presence of the Ark of the covenant, there was still fear.

So, I wonder what are the characteristics of a strong and courageous person?  How do the biblical examples crush their fear?  The first person to pop into my mind is King David.  There is not only a man after God's own heart, but a strong and courageous one at that!  The identifying feature of the great courageous examples of the bible seems to be prayer.  King David as shown in many Psalms, that he called out to Jesus, "Lord hear my cry...."  (I did a keyword search at bible gateway for Lord hear my cry, and there were 17 results.  Keep in mind that each translation uses different terms, so there could be more.)  King David had fear, but he never let it stop him from praying and calling out to God.  He always trusted faithfully that God would answer and he would obey that answer.  Each of the great biblical examples had dedicated prayer lives that were filled will all needs, not just some.

This leads me to conclude that to be strong and courageous means that my prayer life needs to be well rounded.  My prayers need to not only be about others, but also about my own needs and insecurities. I need to call out to the Lord and faithfully wait on His answer and obey His direction. Fear can be crushed by confidence and faith in God.  Confidence comes from the Lord, because it is a result of obediently doing something right, honorable, and righteous.  In other words, doing the will of God.  The Lord clearly promises over and over again, that He is with us wherever we go.  As a result of the new covenant, we have the holy spirit living in us.  This is an incredible power that can be harnessed if we only ask, if we only pray.

I have blogged about prayer before, and I think it is awesome.  However, like I said from the beginning, I find that when I really need prayer or have something going on, I tend to not mention it to God.  There is a part of me that is like, "Oh, he knows!"  Well, I am reminding myself today, that I need to pray fully for all my concerns and ask for my needs, or something better!  (Ephesians 3:17-20)  Prayer is the road to courage.

I love this song and am considering it my new theme song!

"So long status quo, I think I'll just let go.  You make me want to be brave!"

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A good thing to lose

I was driving home the other day flipping through a CD that I had not listened to all the way through yet.  The title of one of the songs has been resonating in my head.  The song was called: What do you have to lose?  It has me thinking about a few good things to lose.

For those of you who know me well, are probably wondering if I am going to talk about weight loss.   The answer is NO, not exactly, well maybe a little.  I am still currently not in favor of doing anything remotely like exercise or dieting.  I have said it before, I NEED TO, but I am not committed in my head.  Although I did see a picture of me today, and thought to myself, "HELLO CHUBBY!  What is up with those rolls, and who let you leave the house like that!"  It is still not enough to make me throw away the bag of M&M's I have hidden in my drawer.  Let's face it, there will be NO YOGA in my immediate future.  After all, I believe yoga to be a bunch of tree hugging hippies, standing like trees and well, I am not the type to buy recycled paper.

However, a few days after I started writing this, I believe I am coming closer to thinking weight loss is a good thing.  You see, I took my daughter to the park.  It was one of those fancy playground sets with all sorts of twisting things you can hang from and climb.  It also had a faux zip line.  I know what you are thinking: DID YOU?  Why yes, yes I did.  Here is where the change of heart comes in, MY ARMS ARE KILLING ME!  It has been two days and they are still sore.  It might as well have been yoga, because just like yoga, all I was doing was holding my own weight.  There is nothing more eye opening than two days later still hurting from carrying nothing but myself!  Need I mention, I only did it once, and not even for the whole line!

I guess the moral of the story is sometimes the weight you carry is unnecessary and you should just let it go.

Back to my point....

My original thought on this blog was inspired by a reminiscent moment.  I was thinking of things that I had lost that had in fact turned out to be really good things to loose, even if at the time they seemed to be heartbreaking.

The first thing that pops into my mind was when I swore that I would never date again.  I remember the night so well.  It was like a scene out of Bridget Jones Diary, minus the cigarettes and alcohol.  I was listening to that sad song by Ginny Owens, If you want me to....

I was feeling all alone, crying my eyes out.  I was a teary eyed mess.  When I prayed and said this,"  I give up, GOD. I am going to let you take control of my dating life.  I am done."  It was about six weeks later that I met my husband.  I gave up the control I thought I had and give it to God.  Loosing control and letting God in was one of the best decisions I ever made!

Another great loss has been fear coupled closely with guilt. Now I am not saying that I never get scared.  On the contrary I do get scared, but now my fear is different.  While I feel fear I don't feel alone, I feel secure in the arms of Jesus.  Where I had guilt before over a life lead without a walk with Jesus, I feel a blessed assurance of forgiveness.  There are times that my head wants to play back old memories and pretend that they were good, or say that I can not be forgiven.  The keeper of my heart, reminds me that I am not only forgiven but dearly loved and fear and guilt are not of God. "For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

There ARE good things to lose.  I want to keep loosing.  The Bible says:

"For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it."  Mark 8:35

I see this verse differently now.  I think I read it with a worldly eye before, but now I see it with the eye of a growing Christian.  I don't want to save a life that is full of fear, pride, selfishness, and guilt.  I want to lose that life and live the life that is forgiven and loved.  

I guess the moral of the story really is the same:  Sometimes the weight you carry is unnecessary and you should just let it go.

If the weight is physical or the weight of a burden, loosing it is in fact a good thing.  I think each type of weight can pose a difficult challenge.  So I ask, will you be willing to loose your life and give it to Jesus?  Then my next question, to diet or not?

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

From regular woman to mommy!

It was about 5 years ago when I went from young married woman to mommy.  I had no concept of just how much my life was going to change.

I would say the first thing that I had to get use to was the "poop" conversations.  I am the kinda girl who likes to keep my bathroom time private, and the thought of discussing poop on a regular basis was a real adjustment for me.  All mommy's know that when you have a baby, you are on poop patrol.  The doctor tells you how many times a baby should poop, and so as a new parent you wait and watch.  You call your spouse at work to say things like,"We have had our poops for the day!"  As my daughter has grown, the poop conversations still happen.  The potty training, "bye-bye poopie!"  Or "Mommy where does my poop come from?"  And "Mommy, where does my poop go when I flush the toilet?  In a million years, I never thought I would have to discuss poop as much as I do as a mother. 

Then there is the MOM bag.  The mom bag is the bag that comes after the diaper bag.  It is for the 3-5 possibly older kid.  While it looks like a regular purse it has been modified.  It has snacks, wipes, tissues, band aides, Neosporin, crayons, and Lysol spray or wipes.  At the bottom it also contains a thin layer of snack crumbs, used wipes, and tissues.  These items are essential for your every day on the go tasks.  It is also at this stage where you suddenly see the practicality that is a mini-van.  Let's face it, any car that you can open a door by the press of a button has value when your hands are full and you are being tugged on and "mommied" to death.

There is just something about being a mom.  I never thought I would be a mom, I wasn't sure I wanted to.  Now that I am, there are times I feel as though I have lost my mind.  I mean really, just read the previous paragraph.  (Said in a sarcastic tone)  The mini-van is cool, WHAT who am I becoming!  Before you know it I am going to want mom jeans like this:

While I think that this is funny, there is one thing that is no joke.  I love being a mother.  I love that I get to experience one of God's miracles everyday.  I am honored to watch my daughter grow, and hope that I honor God in how I raise her.  As we prepare for Mother's day, I hope that each of you mom's can laugh about the way life changes with kids.  As we celebrate mother's day, I hope we each stop and thank God for our mothers and grandmothers and the lives they changed for us!  Love to each of you moms and grandmas!

Lastly I will share this:

Now go and bust a cap on toothpaste! 
This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lonely Noise Turned Loving Noise

I started writing this over a week ago.  However, I feel a tugging in my heart that I should finish this and post it today!  So here goes nothing!

There are so many things swirling around in my head.  Things I want to say and stories I want to tell.  However, in my thoughts there seems to be an underlying theme.  Loneliness.  It is as if in every part of my life I see people and the common theme is loneliness.

There are so many ways for people to keep in contact these days, that we take for granted we are actually talking to each other.  I can send an email or a quick text message but when is the last time you took the time to sit and visit with some one for the sake of visiting?  We constantly have some sort of media around us all the time; hang on my phone is ringing, I have a text message, or wait let me Google that!  I see that people are surrounded all the time by conversation and noise, but so often I hear them say, I have no one to TALK to. 

I think one of Satan's greatest weapons may be the whispers found in our own heads saying, you are all alone.  Clearly you can go on Facebook or Twitter and have hundreds of friends who will "Like" what you are saying or "follow you."  I ask this, how many will stop their day, take the time to ask how you are really doing? Then the next question is, why not?  Or,  will you really tell them how you are doing?

I believe there is a lie out there, and it says: NO ONE CARES.  It is propagated by the media.  The stories on the evening news tell of tragedies that were forgotten or of injustices done, while these stories may be true, I do not believe that they are the "NORM."  We desensitize our lives and act as if things don't really matter, when they do.  It is funny, people will unite in protest over an alleged injustice, but the unification is almost never without some violence, bad language, or destruction of property.  In the midst of all the outrage, you never see anyone actually caring for the victims.  The only time you see care for a victim on TV is in the case of a natural disaster, but that is often coupled with an element of criticism over the type or quality of care.

I believe that people do still care about people.  We spend our time talking, talking, talking, but not acting, acting, acting.  As a Christian, it is hard to live the words of God.  As a Christian, there is a constant commentary on how to be and how not to be: are you being inclusive or judgmental?  In all the rhetoric surrounding how we should be, it appears as though many are just not moving in any direction.  If we want to change our society, our home, our lives, sometimes the place to start is with ourselves.  The media would say, you have no personal responsibility, it is your parents fault, or well, anybody  fault except your own.  However, I have found that when I want some one or something to change, the change has to start in my heart and attitude first.

I believe that loneliness is the single thing that drives most of the problems we have today.  We fill our lives with white noise.  We talk about things of no importance, and hope that the important things are handled by someone other than ourselves.  We may ask each other how we are doing, but the answer is seldom more than a, "Oh I am fine, same old same old."  The truth is that we would feel less alone if we shared our lives with one another on a level deeper than the superficial.

It is not only sharing our lives with others, we also need to share our lives with GOD.  I sometimes find myself fumbling around in my head questioning my life and decisions only to end up thinking I've done everything wrong.  I contemplate my life with diabetes and all the sudden NO ONE can understand and I have fatally wounded myself with worry and what if's.  I carry it on my heart and do not speak a word about it to anyone except maybe a casual, "I am OK but," mention to my family.  It is when I am broken that God reminds me, "Cast all your care upon HIM for He cares for you."  It is like an epiphany, in all my worry and conversations in my head, I realize I should be sharing this with God.

I think we all want to hash things out, out loud to God and with trusted friends.  However,  it is easy to carry a burden creating loneliness and wish it away, without giving it away to God.  After all, without the presence of God those burdens only seem to gain weight.  I don't know about you, but I don't need any extra weight!  We carry our real burdens with us, and so often we tell no one, not even God.  We think that they are unimportant, too embarrassing, or that no one else could possibly understand. That is the lie that Satan would like us to believe.  He wants us to feel alone and isolated.  The truth is that we have a loving God.    We have a God in Jesus who became human to understand all of us.  All we have to do is share our concerns with him, trust him, and most of all believe that He is the son of God.  When we share our burdens and lives with Him life is not lonely, but abundant.   If we will allow ourselves to be open and vulnerable to share our lives, He will not only fill us with the Holy Spirit, but he will give us people at the right time to encourage us, and help us live a life connected and fulfilled.

Today,  I challenge you, to stop leading a life of the lonely and start sharing it with God.  Take the burden you are carrying and hand it over to God.  I challenge you to ask someone:  How are you today?  Then really listen to the answer.  I challenge you to pray for your concerns and for the concerns of a friend or two.  Let's make this life of constant noise, be noise that is loving to one another.  Let's silence the loneliness and fill our lives with more God and more love!

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Today was a hard diabetes day.  I have been sick for about 10 days now, and I am not shaking it the way I want to.  The thing I hate about being sick on top of diabetes is that I am forced to face the awful word limitations.  I am forced to face my limitations, which in turn makes me feel weak. It is also the time when I get scared.  I could have a regular cold, but in my head it is the beginning of the complications that are associated with diabetes.  Let me qualify this by saying, that the fear only comes after a round of antibiotics and still not much improvement.  As I have said before, diabetes life most of the time is just something I do, and not often do I find myself in the dull drums of diabetes.  Today has been a beat myself up, talk myself down, scare myself day, because I am tired of it.

I sit and think; maybe some chocolate would do the trick?  Then I am reminded, that chocolate will only make me feel worse about myself.   Chocolate tastes so sweet but it betrays me with the high blood sugar, and weight gain.  Oh sweet sweet chocolate you are a tasty tragedy!

The first few days I was sick, this was my prayer.  Dear God, please let this take its course and please show me what I need so I do not have to repeat this anytime soon.   As a result of my Bible study on trials, I was thinking, this is a short trial.  I want to learn what I need to learn so that it will pass, and I will be left stronger, immune-ally speaking.  Then by Friday, I was calling out to God, ok, cough cough, cough, I am, cough cough, cough, ready to be better.  While I feel better, I am not completely better, and I have set into frustration and discouragement.  It took all I had to go to bible study this morning.  I had not done my homework.  I purposely skipped the first hour thinking I could get there in time to see the video portion, and that I would not have to share.

God had something very different in mind.  This week, they watched the video first!  I sat there with almost nothing written in my book.  I had not even read the sections of the study.  As I sat there listening to the over view of each of the 5 days’ worth of homework.  God gave me this

“My grace is sufficient for you, my power made perfect in weakness……”   
2 Corinthians 12:9

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have heard this verse like about a million times.  Immediately that Christian song by Chris Tomlin; Your Grace is enough, comes to mind.  I am singing it in my head now.  For me, the real nugget here is that God’s power is perfected in weakness. 

Today I feel weak.  My spirit is weak, my resolve is weary and I feel a bit of a mess.   It is like I need to just cry it out or whatever, so I can get on with the getting on!  However, according to the rest of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: 

“….. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Now if I read that right, then GOD is closest to me when I feel this way.  He feels my heart ache and frustrations over the things I cannot change.  The power of Christ rests on me.  That is incredibly encouraging, a little scary, and almost overwhelming.  I admit, I cried a little after I left class.  I guess my tears were a mix of comfort, and guilt.  After all, I didn’t do my part (homework/scripture reading/ and struggled with my prayers in the last week), but GOD IS STILL DOING HIS PART EVERY DAY ALL THE TIME!  Amazing!

It is funny how with God, it is always perfect timing.  He knew that I needed to sit and listen.  He knew exactly what I needed to hear.  I would love to say that I am never going to be discouraged again, but I am hoping that the next time I am caught in the feel sorry for myself syndrome, I will remember that in my weakness, God’s grace is enough, and His power made perfect in weakness. 

As the day draws to a close, I find that after writing this and pondering these verses, I am renewed.   I am in fact made strong knowing that, at the end of the day God is enough.  It is his strength I need to rely on, not my own.  I will continue to walk this life with diabetes and there will be more tough days ahead.  I hope that I will remember that those days when I am discouraged, scared, and at my weakest are really the days that God is closest to me whispering," My power is made perfect in your weakness, let me rest my power upon you."

This is my mind set, now let me hear yours!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The politics of Life

I try not to get too political in my blogs.  However, lately the issue of abortion has been on my mind a lot.  There has been lots of media coverage of women's health and the health care laws.  There are a couple of messages that I think have been missed.

First, the media and television glorifies sexual relationships.  They make whole shows surrounding the drama of the lives of people having sex.  There never seems to be any outrage from anyone, saying, "Uh hum, excuse me, these are teenagers or, hello, these people aren't married."  They glamorize this lifestyle, and make it seem as though it is normal everyday life.  I don't live in la-la land, and I realize that people are going to make mistakes.  I just wish that some where along the way, someone would be brave enough to stand up and say," You don't have to keep on repeating your mistakes.  Instead it is considered normal to just continue the race forward down a road filled with broken hearted consequences.  It just makes me sad that the teenagers of the world are almost made famous for their bad behavior.  It seems as though no one has step up to say, "it is ok to stop."  There seems to be no reassurance or encouragement that is not only ok to stop, but a good thing.  Instead they are offered school programs that encourage contraceptives and abortions.

I would encourage you to watch the following movie. This 30 minute documentary is about abortion and is incredibly powerful.  I hope that when you have time you will watch, and solidify your view on abortion.

Everyone is talking about the up coming election and it being a historical election.  I believe this to be true, but not for the same reasons that the media is talking about.  While I am not a one issue voter, I believe now more than ever that life is the key issue.  We can not vote for someone who is pro-choice.  The fact is that if they are pro-choice that means they are for murder.  It means that with the new health care law, they are for setting up a panel of people to make choices for your life.  These people will come together to decide if you are worth paying for or not.  If these same pro-abortion people are on the panel, would they not also consider that the very old are not worth saving either?  The same politicians who are spending more money than they are taking in are going to decide the age at which you may or may not be productive enough to save.  These matter-of-fact opinions that do not view a fetus as a life, will now be considering the life of someone in their 70's.  At 70 have you already seen your best days?  I for one, have decided this may be the single most important issue for our time.

We are rapidly approaching Easter.  A time when Christians celebrate the life and resurrection of Jesus.  What a beautiful miracle, and great love that was shown to us, by Jesus's sacrifice on the cross.  He gave his LIFE so that we may have LIFE everlasting.  It is my believe that LIFE and miracles are Jesus's expertise and when he gives them or takes them away, it is His decision.  I would rather leave it in God's hands and not some politician.

This is my mind set, now let me hear yours!